I was Grey Cup weekend. The 100th Grey Cup. I know this only because (1) my home city was the host, (2) my home team was playing, (3) my home city was over-run by intoxicated men wearing cowboy hats, (4) my home team won and (5) I ran in a Grey Cup 8K race. But mostly because of (5).
I’ve never raced 8K before. I almost didn’t race this one. It was a weird morning. 15 minutes before the start I was about to begin warming up with some friends when I realized I had forgotten to pin an my bib and twist tie (!) on my chip. I then rushed, with 5 minutes to go, to the finish line thinking it was the start line. I got to the start just as the director was giving the 3 minute warming, at which point I followed a friend into the bushes for an emergency pit stop. And not the quick and easy kind. With my shorts still at my knees while frantically looking around for large leaves I heard the horn go off.
This was a gun timed event so I yanked up my shorts, unzipped my warmup sweats, and bolted to the start line. A friend said all she saw was me flying down the hill. That 200m downhill dash was my warmup. The first 5K ran us into a nasty and persistent head wind; for the last 3K it was our backs, although at our backs felt like no wind at all. It was a nice course along a waterfront trail, with only a few little rises along the way. The bridges were treacherous after the first snow of the season. My shoes have about 1000K on them and no grippy tread remaining. After nearly sliding into the bay on the first bridge I walked the rest. It would be an amazing course at 5C with no wind.
It was below zero with snow on the ground but I still wore my shorts shorts and singlet. I did add in arm warmers and gloves, but they met an untimely demise (don’t ask). My skin was cold but my insides warmed up quickly. I was wearing less than everyone else in the race. I think if you show up wearing so little you need to be prepared to bring it.
I ran hard. Not my hardest, but hard. The 8K distance confused me. I ran it like a 10K. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be, but I was thrilled to be the first woman (not because I’m fast, because it was a very small race – I don’t mind the easy win, I’m okay with the low hanging fruit).
Title: Grateful Dead: Touch of Grey. 1987.